Yeah, murder. Prompt: Write about a man who has succeeded in killing his best friend. (I wrote this a week ago. Three people told me not to post on my blog. I considered.)
I killed him on a Saturday, one of those fall days that makes no sense, a day that confuses my body and baffles the thermostat. It was hot in the afternoon, but the chill approached long before the sun had set. The sun shone but the leaves jerked with the wind. It was one of those days.
The cold came and I killed him then. I waited until my t-shirt wasn’t enough and I pulled on my old Harvard sweatshirt. I think it belonged to my older brother, but I’ve had it so long it feels like mine. The sleeves are frayed; the edges hang down over my hands. The collar is worn, loose. Holes have appeared and grown. The burgundy lettering peels around the edges. A weekend sweatshirt, one I had only worn to lie on the couch and read or work in the back garden.
The shirt soaks in the bathtub. I stand at the sink and study my body in the mirror. I wipe my chest, my arms. Wring out the washcloth and wipe again. I scrub my fingernails. The cuticles are red. The nails shine white. Try to look in the mirror. I see my lips. Black and gray stubble. My nose. I move up, up. I wipe a speck of blood from my chin and put my hands back under the running water. Up, up. I get as far as my cheek bones and look away.
I wipe my hands on the soft gray hand towel and look in the bathtub. The water is still clear. The brown seeps out from the shirt, feathery fingers of color, dissipating and diluting. The shirt lies on the bottom but the sleeves float up through the water, reaching toward the surface. They reach like he reached. His arms grasped for me, pleading when his mouth couldn’t make the words.
He reaches and I close my eyes. I remove the knife. I close my eyes. I stab again. The lack of resistance shocks me. The body gives way. The metal slides in. No noise. No fight. I turn away, focus on the white of the wall and push it deeper. The blood seeps from the white sleeves toward the block lettering. It smears across my stomach. Splotches on my chest. The burgundy spreads.